What is sexual wellness?
Sexual health and wellness refers to the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals in relation to their sexual experiences and relationships. It involves having safe and satisfying sexual experiences, as well as the ability to make informed decisions about one's sexual health.
Sexual health and wellness impact our overall well-being. As a university student, you are at a time in your life when it's normal to explore your sexuality. It's essential to have access to resources and information to support you in making informed choices.
Our cultural, religious, and spiritual values and beliefs impact how we view relationships and sexual experiences. Sometimes conservative environments limit the exploration of sexuality, whereas more liberal settings encourage sexual expression. Regardless of where you are on this spectrum, it is important to know how to safely explore sexual curiosity.
How do I explore my sexual wellness?
There are common misconceptions about sex and sexuality that are important to explore. Let’s begin by understanding the difference between 'Sex-Negative' and 'Sex-Positive' thoughts.
Belief systems can impact our ability to explore sexual acts and relationships due to stigma, shame, and cultural acceptability. Sex-negative messaging can influence our philosophy, values, and behaviours surrounding sex and sexual health and wellness. It is important to reflect on the judgemental messages we've received that can prevent us from exploring and enjoying consensual sex.
Finding comfort with your sexuality enhances sexual experience, both for you and your partner(s). Sex-positivity is a mindset that encourages acceptance and respect for sexualities and all forms of expression.
You can learn more about sexuality and sexual expression at SexandU.ca
Let's talk about sex health
As we start to explore our bodies and relationships, it is important we bring safer sexual practices into the equation. Safer sex practices refer to methods that can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy during sexual activity.
Sexual health myth busting
There are several common myths and rumors about sex amongst university students in Canada. Here are a few examples:
"You can't get pregnant the first time you have sex."
This is a common myth that can lead to unintended pregnancy. It is possible to get pregnant during the first sexual encounter, as well as any subsequent sexual activity, if proper contraception is not used.
"Only women need to use contraception."
This is a misconception that places the responsibility solely on the partner with a uterus to prevent unintended pregnancy. All partners should take responsibility for contraception to prevent STIs and unintended pregnancy.
"Pulling out is an effective form of contraception."
This is a risky practice that can lead to unintended pregnancy. Withdrawal, or "pulling out," is not a reliable form of contraception because pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) can contain sperm.
"You can tell if someone has an STI."
This is a dangerous assumption because many STIs do not show any symptoms. It is important to get tested regularly for STIs to protect sexual health, regardless of whether or not symptoms are present.
"The pill protects against STIs."
This is a common misconception. The pill is a form of contraception that only protects against unintended pregnancy, not STIs. Using a barrier method, such as a condom or dental dam, is important to prevent STIs.
It is important to have access to accurate information and resources to dispel these myths and rumors about sex. Here are some websites that provide accurate information about safer sex:
Sexual heath resources